Here's an excerpt:
This Sunday Sam continued his series on The Word, this time focusing on the Law. In Judaism, the law is hugely important. The 613 commandments from God in the Hebrew Bible are the way they understand what God wants from them and the best way to live His way. I think Christian tradition views it in a more strict and constricting way: "We have to do these things or God will be so pissed!" That's sad to me, as I doubt God keeps Excel spreadsheets with all the commandments in the Bible on one axis and all our names on another, checking off each box as we break different commandments." Read it all here.
Then I opened up the readings for next Sunday and found this Collect just begging for me to pray it.
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Having rules and following the law isn't about an angry, vengeful god who is waiting for us to screw up so he can through an extra bill, a case of gout, or whatever punishment we can concoct our way. It is about fixing our heart to the true joy of life in Christ Jesus. Sure, it may seem fun to covet your neighbors wife, but God knows it is a heck of a lot more fun to enjoy one's own spouse. It may seem like dishonoring your father and mother is the "in thing," but God's plan is big and He knows that in the long run that realtionship is worth more than a night spent having snuck out of the house.
God is teaching me something about the goodness of law today. Maybe because I'm less than a month away from being a dad, a giver and enforcer of a set of laws. It will be good, over the next 18, 30, 40+ years to remember that the law is intended to enhance joy not inflict punishment.